Kim has always carried the weight of the shadows of her past on her shoulders. She has punished herself by denying herself what she calls pleasures, such as love. But when she met Rick at a birthday party her roommate threw for her, things started to change. From day one, Rick made her feel special and loved. The more she went out with him, the more she fell in love with him and more she let him into her life. Soon she threw caution to the wind and moved in with him. That was when he took full control of her life. That was when the abuse started. Joshua, their next door neighbor is concerned about the things he hears through the walls and wonders what he can do about it. His employer, Debbie, runs a shelter for battered women, so he wonders how he can get Kim to safety. But there's still a problem-Kim is standing in her own way because she doesn't want to leave Rick. It's only a matter of time before this stubbornness will lead to a fatal wound.
The Weight of Shadowsis a non-typical plot, especially for a debut author, because it abandons the cliched boy meets girl, girl hates boy, girl loves boy later type of plot. Of course, I any abuse plot is going to be realistic as long as there's not a perfect male lead the bail out the victim female. However, The Weight of Shadows is not a highly original novel, though it does have potential. It misses the Elite List for several reasons.
The characters are not as good as they could be. Kim is the best character because she is not portrayed as a victim. She stays with Rick of her own accord. Rick is an interesting and realistic enough villain. Debbie should have been expanded upon more than she was. Joshua's life is delved into more than it should have been for him to play such a small purpose in the overall plot. It seems as though Alison only did this to make the book longer. However, for all the time she spends on Joshua, no real personality is developed. Alison has a little more work to do in the character department.
There is no romantic subplot completed, though there was the potential for at least one. However, in the end, it seemed as though Alison forgot she was developing one. This is a promising sign. Kim's subplot is also the best subplot because Alison tried the hardest to write it, it seems. Her past is her fault; she was not a victim of circumstance. Debbie's subplot is merely demonstrative, and Joshua's is too long, since it is so insignificant. Joshua is more of an over explained tool than anything else.
Alison Strobel fixes too many things at the end of the novel for this book's plot to put it on the Elite List in light of the shallow characters. This plot had a lot of potential, but Alison's delivery seemed half-hearted sometimes.
All in all, Alison has a bright future as an author if she will finish the things she starts. With better characters alone, she can be a formidable author. I expect her to improve down the stretch.